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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan does not need our money, they need our resources

Since the devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan there has been an outpouring of support and generous donations from countries all over the world. However we must be reminded that Japan is not Haiti. They are not impoverished, in fact they are an extremely wealthy nation. Thus "many groups are raising money without knowing how it will be spent - or if it will be needed".

"The Japanese Red Cross, for example, has said repeatedly since the day after the earthquake that it does not want or need outside assistance. But that has not stopped the American Red Cross from raising $34 million through Tuesday afternoon in the name of Japan’s disaster victims". I think that it is important to note that The Red Cross keeps 9% of any money it raises, so in the last week they have pocketed over 3 million dollars from the Japan Campaign alone.

“The only things Japan has really asked for at this point is some specialized search-and-rescue teams with dogs, some specialized medical help and some communications equipment, as well as the bulk shipment of goods, which is largely about country-to-country assistance,” said Saundra Schimmelpfennig a writer for the blog Good Intentions Are Not Enough".

 I think that we have been duped into believing that in times of tragedy and disaster we must donate money, and as much money as we can, as fast as we can. However this is not always necessary. In countries like Japan we need to do a little more research and inform ourselves on what the needs truly are. "...nonprofit groups had moved to create ads using keywords like “Japan,” “earthquake,” “disaster,” and “help” to improve the chances of their ads showing up on Google when the words were used in search queries". We need to realize that although organizations like the Red Cross and World Vision have admirable missions they are still businesses driven to make a profit.

“Charities are aggressively soliciting donations around this disaster, and I don’t believe these donations necessarily are going to be used for relief or recovery in Japan because they aren’t needed for that,” Mr. Karnofsky said. “The Japanese government has made it clear it has the resources it needs for this disaster.”

If we really want to make a meaningful contribution as donors we need to be more informed, we need to do our own research so we can provide the help and resources that are needed. 

-GlassFrog Blogger Jessica

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